The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - What Should be Placed in a Sharps Container?

Sharps containers are intended for the disposal of sharps waste. Sharps are defined as any object which could readily puncture or cut the skin of an individual when encountered. A sharp may be any type of material:

  • Glass or plastic pipettes.
  • Needles, scalpels, syringes, knives, razor blades, metal shavings, etc.
  • Broken glass, capillary tubes, plastic, metal, pottery with sharp edges, etc.
  • Anything that could puncture through a garbage bag risking the bag to rupture and spill, or risking unexpected injury and exposure to custodial or cleanup personnel.

The use of sharps containers for disposal should be restricted to sharps only. Gloves, bench paper, unbroken vials, petri dishes and other non-sharp material should be disposed of in a regular biohazardous waste container, i.e., a red tub.

Please contact Seth Zickefoose at 335-4391 or Jim Pyrz at 335-4625 for questions regarding sharps disposal.